From the famous ‘Mumbai Dabbawalas’ to ‘Uber Eats’, food delivery has become a part of our daily lives. So, while I wait for my lunch to arrive at my desk, let’s walk through the history of food delivery system and how it has become the new norm.
Today ordering a pizza or a gourmet dinner is just a few taps away. It might seem like a modern phenomenon dominated after the rise of technology, but it is not. Surprisingly, food delivery system has a history that goes beyond the smartphone era. To be more accurate, the first food delivery service is traced back to 1768 in Korea, when the delivery of naengmyeon (cold noodle) was attempted.
In the 19th century, the Italians delivered the first pizza to the delivery customers. Soon, the circumstances and human advancements influenced the growth and enhancement of food delivery services spanning a drastic and interesting timeline. The circumstances like the war, new technology, and changing forms of labor and work all were involved in determining how and when the food is delivered.
Here is a timeline that outlines the history of food delivery:
- 1889-Royals receive the FIRST PIZZA delivery
- 1890- Mumbai’s dabbawalas ruling food delivery then & now
- 1922- Chinese food delivery’s debut in America
- 1950- Advertisement and food delivery on a rise
- 1954- Great Britain’s response to the economic crisis
- 1960- Quicker deliveries promise from Domino’s
- 2000- The rise of online food delivery
1889-Royals receive the FIRST PIZZA delivery
When King Umberto and Queen Margherita visited Naples, there was a famous Pizzeria di Pietro e Basta Così, which had created a new style of pizza. The head chef Raffaele Esposito wanted the Royals to try it and thus delivered the pizza himself. Today, centuries later, pizza is enjoyed by all classes equally. And we are all aware of the food experimenting with our good old pizza recipe.
1890- Mumbai’s dabbawalas ruling food delivery then & now
Dabbawala duly translates to one who carries the box. The oldest food delivery system in India is still growing strongly. Mumbai relies on these dabbawalas to deliver their food on time and every day. Starting during colonial times, soon the Dabba service became a necessity for the working class of the busy city. Keeping track of the modern advancements, they have also tried to include the technology offerings through text or apps. If you visit Mumbai, you will catch the glimpse of these dabbawalas walking with dozens of tiffins on their head, struggling with the traffic and delivering the food on time.
1922- Chinese food delivery’s debut in America
Kin-Chu entered the American market as the only place on the West Coast that made and delivered real Chinese food. The restaurant used telephones to take order requests and then deliver the food as late as 1 a.m. today several restaurants and cafés are serving mouth-watering, authentic Chinese cuisine which gets home delivered in no time. It has made me crave Chinese food too!
1950- Advertisement and food delivery on a rise
Post-war there was a rise in advertisement and restaurant food delivery, partly because of the influence of television. As the TVs entered more homes, people dining from the comfort of their homes also increasingly became popular. The rise of industrialization and real estate pushed the families away from their favorite restaurants making it the only sensible option. The restaurant businessmen capitalized on this opportunity and telecasted several TV menus.
1954- Great Britain’s response to the economic crisis
In 1954, there was a decline in economic conditions due to World War II. In response to this crisis, New Britain launched the Meals on Wheels which delivered food to people who might not have access to food. Soon, it expanded beyond borders which included the U.S. To date, Meals on Wheels is delivering food to the homebound across the world.
1960- Quicker deliveries promise from Domino’s
Domino’s quick delivery promise started in the 1960s and the trend catches on when the delivery times improved drastically. Domino promised to deliver pizza in under 30 mins or less. This promise did give rise to various lawsuits but to date, we chant the 30 mins tagline.
With smartphones going mainstream, food delivery became more popular and accessible. There was a rise in separate food delivery apps that dominated the delivery services. Though the pandemic disrupted the supply chain food deliveries remained vital for the people to function. Not just food, there were delivery apps that delivered daily essentials and more.
What is modern food delivery?
The powerful combination of the internet and smartphones completely changed the face of food delivery. From the comfort of your home, you could customize the pizza order with the all-new Pizza Hut website. Also, the businesses like Waiter.com offered easier services and a wide array of choices.
Over the last decade, food delivery has become a very competitive sector. The industry is booming with people highly preferring the online option. The estimates state that every month, Americans spend around $16 billion on food delivery, and that number is only going to increase. The wake of COVID-19 further highlighted the essentiality of food delivery businesses. The biggest challenge of the modern age, the COVID virus, has proved beneficial for food delivery companies. There was a significant rise in sales and areas with high risk, the contactless deliveries became a life-saver.